The VO Campeur front rack is designed for touring. This is a heavy-duty rack with integrated low rider platforms.
The top platform features an integrated decaleur (bag quick-release) to make bag removable easy. A U-shaped plug is included for those times when you don't use the decaleur.
The Campeur rack is designed to be mounted to canti-brake studs and dropout eyelets. The hardware is included. It fits most bikes with 26", 650b, 700c, and 27" wheels. The maximum weight it can carry is 40 lbs.
Construction is all stainless steel tubing with a lovely polished finish. It won't rust like painted steel racks or fatigue and crack like some aluminum racks.
Note: Oversize charges may apply when this item is shipped outside the contiguous US (e.g., Alaska, Hawaii, international, and military addresses). Free shipping discount may not apply. We will notify you of shipping charges prior to shipping.
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I removed my Campeur (not planning on any camping through the winter), and weighed it. 1144 g on my kitchen scale. This includes the brackets that attach it to the cantilever studs, and the U-shaped plug, and also the bolts that attach it to the mudguard eyelets. It does not include the decaleur.
In contrast, the Nitto M-12 is 261 g. The difference — the effective wight of the low-rider pannier functionality, is 883 g, or 1.9 lb.
I bought this rack because it is the only low-rider rack that I could find that does not require mid-fork mounting bosses. I already had a Nitto M-12 (a small rack that supports a handlebar bag), so was able to remove it and mount the VO Campeur onto the same bolts on the cantilever bosses. (This was fortunate, because the hardware supplied with the rack would not work with my Paul brakes.)
I was surprised at the overall high weight of the VO Campeur. It is made of tubing, rather than rod, but it is small diameter (8mm?) tubing, and must have quite thick walls. Larger diameter, thinner walled tubing might be lighter. I don't recall the overall weight of the rack, and VO doesn't list it in their specs, but it was something around 1.3 kg. Subtract from that 270 g for the Nitto M-12 that it replaces, and the low rider part of the Campeur still adds more than 1 kg. Compare that to a Tubus Tara rack at 500 g, plus 80 g for the Tubus LM-1 mounts for forks without bosses.
The decaleur is steel rod, and very heavy — 130 g. (The "plug" is also steel rod). More importantly, the decaleur doesn't work for a "boxy" handlebar bag with 90° corners. That's because the tombstone is set at approximately 110° to the top of the rack, so the decaleur is a couple of inches behind the top of the bag when the bag is sitting flat on the top of the rack. One could conceivably put a wooden block between the decaleur and the handlebar bag, but it would be nice if VO would redesign the decaleur to extend forward from the "plug in", so that the bag mounts are positioned vertically above the place where the tombstone meets the rack-top. My solution was to not use the decaleur at all, and strap my handlebar bag to the top of the rack.
I had some trouble mounting Ortlieb panniers. My front-rollers are narrower than the rectangular support frame on the Campeur; I had to buy additional mounting hardware from Ortlieb to get them to hook on to the bottom rail. The larger back-rollers worked fine. A "Z"-shaped bag holder in place of the rectangular frame would be lighter, and offer more mounting options for bags.
Because this rack extends further forward than the Nitto M-12, I had to move my headlamp from the top of the fender to one of the bosses provided on the Campeur rack. Lacking a suitable bracket, I used some spare Velo Orange fender mounting hardware — see the picture,
On a recent camping trip, I had 5 to 6 kg each side, plus another 5 kg or so in my handlebar bag, and everything was solid. On my low-trail bike, handling was hardly impacted at all: everything felt smooth and predictable. (In contrast, putting a rear load on this particular bike sends the handling to hell.)
To summarize: the rack works very well in use. It's strong and good looking. However, it is very heavy. Consider the alternative of getting a small bag support like the Nitto M-12 or the VO Randonneur Front Rack, and a Tubus low-rider rack: the overall wight would be less, and you would have more versatility, because you could remove one or other of the racks when they are not needed.
This is a great-looking rack and a more integrated solution than handlebar-bag rack plus low-rider rack. I just took it on a 300-mile mountain tour, including some very rough dirt roads, and it flexed a bit but overall did fine.
I wasn’t able to mount it over my CAFAM cantilever brakes, but I mounted it via struts to my low-rider bosses. Mounting to the brake studs should be more rigid.
The brazed-on light mount nut isn’t quite straight, so my light sits at a bit of an angle. I haven’t had this problem with other VO racks.
The wide lower frame may interfere with putting a bike securely on some bus racks.
Total integration of low rider racks and a decaleur for a bag. I went shopping with this mounted on my wife's (ok only I have ridden it) poyvalent with this rack and two large panniers. Stable and so easy to steer. I might add, the weight is well below a separate handlebar bag plus low rider rack or a upper lower rack such as the the Surly front rack. It is fully interchangeable with my other VO decaleurs, so only one bag necessary for my growing stable of bikes. The mounting was perfect on the polyvalent, and I would assume with the hardware, just about any bike.
The flare out of the rack on the bottom is a subtle touch to have gravity stabilize bags. Just what the doctor ordered for front loaded touring or other loads.
I'm a doctor, so this is the Rx for your low trail or other front loaded bike.